Every summer, Lollapalooza attracts some of the best restaurants in Chicago. The food vendors may get a bit expensive, but they're always of excellent quality. My first experience with Leghorn Chicken was at this year's Lollapalooza. I got what I thought would be a basic, greasy chicken sandwich ... but what I got instead was magical.
I knew I had to go in and give it another try, without the Lollapalooza craziness. So I went back to try the Nashville hot chicken breast sandwich on a buttermilk biscuit. To complete the experience, I got green chile hush puppies on the side. I went to the convenient River North Leghorn Cafe location (if you work downtown!), but its main store is on Western Avenue in the Ukrainian Village neighborhood.
I sampled Leghorn Chicken's most popular hot sauces: rancho verde (the most popular), roquefort bleu cheese, creole honey mustard and red jalapeno aioli. The rancho verde also comes standard with the hush puppies and is a solid staple. My second favorite is the red jalapeno aioli. But what pairs most perfectly with the Nashville hot chicken treatment is the roquefort blue cheese sauce. If you don't normally like bleu cheese ... we're in the same boat. But this sauce isn't as strong as in your face as you'd expect - and it helps to cool down the hot sauce.
Overall, there aren't too many choices to make in a broad sense (see Leghorn Chicken's menu here). Instead, the team prides itself on "doing one thing fantastically well." It's really more about customizing Leghorn Chicken's premier offerings to your specific tastes. For example, you can choose a breast or thigh (or nuggets), decide if you want it hot or pickled, and finish with a housemade bun or buttermilk biscuit. Sides are as simple as things like coleslaw and fries, or as interesting as quinoa kale salad or green chile hush puppies.
And just so you know ... when you eat at Leghorn Chicken, you're supporting local and sustainable farming. Two percent of their gross revenue is donated back to organizations that support the cause. In a nod to another friend chicken-centric quick service restaurant, they're open all day Sunday. Also, if you want to sit around for awhile, it's BYOB!
Chicken is a great place to go for a down and dirty lunch that you want
to feel classy about. Just make sure to go light on breakfast!